Military officials have arrested 16 Marines following an investigation into human smuggling. The Marine Corps said the arrests at Camp Pendleton were carried out during a battalion formation Thursday morning at the base.
The Marine Corps said in a news release that information gained after two Marines were arrested on human smuggling charges earlier this summer led to the arrests. Lance Corporals Byron Law II and David Salazar-Quintero were arrested by border patrol agents July 3 for suspicion of smuggling illegal immigrants. Those immigrants told agents they paid the Marines $8,000 to get them over the border.
Officials say the Marines are charged with various illegal activities ranging from human smuggling to drug-related offenses, but none of the Marines were involved in helping to enforce border security.
Here is the official statement:
On the morning of July 25, 2019, officials from 1st Marine Division worked alongside the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) to carry out the arrest of 16 Marines during a Battalion formation at Camp Pendleton, California. The 16 Marines were arrested for alleged involvement in various illegal activities ranging from human smuggling to drug-related offenses. Information gained from a previous human smuggling investigation precipitated the arrests. An additional 8 Marines were taken aside to be questioned on their involvement in alleged drug offenses unrelated to today’s arrests.
None of the Marines arrested or detained for questioning served in support of the Southwest Border Support mission.
1st Marine Division is committed to justice and the rule of law, and we will continue to fully cooperate with NCIS on this matter. Any Marines found to be in connection with these alleged activities will be questioned and handled accordingly with respect to due process.
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